Commonwealth Writers Prize Shortlist Announced

The shortlists for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and Best First Book from Europe and South Asia were announced this month (February 18, 2009).

The full shortlists are:

Best Book Award
Chris Cleave    The Other Hand
Shashi Deshpande     The Country of Deceit
Philip Hensher     The Northern Clemency
Jhumpa Lahiri     Unaccustomed Earth
David Lodge     Deaf Sentence
Salman Rushdie     The Enchantress of Florence

Best First Book Award
Sulaiman Addonia     The Consequences of Love
Daniel Clay     Broken
Joe Dunthorne     Submarine
Mohammed Hanif    A Case of Exploding Mangoes
Murzaban F. Shroff      Breathless in Bombay

Professor Paranjape commented: ‘What distinguished this year’s entries was a preponderance of well-established authors including Salman Rushdie, Philip Hensher, Shashi Deshpande and Jhumpa Lahiri in the Best Book category and some very talented new voices such as Mohammed Hanif and Joe Dunthorne in the Best First Book category.  Though most of the short-listed authors either live in the UK or are British subjects, they are actually quite diverse in their origins.’
The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, a much valued and sought-after award, aims to reward the best Commonwealth fiction written in English, by both established and new writers, and to take their works to a global audience.
The two Europe and South Asia regional winners that emerge from the shortlists will be announced on 12 March 2009.  These two winners will then enter the final phase of the competition and go on to compete head to head with the other six finalists from Africa, Canada and the Caribbean, South East Asia and the South Pacific for the overall Best Book and Best First Book award.
Each of the regional winners will receive £1,000 and in addition be invited to take part in a week-long series of community events and public readings alongside the final judging in New Zealand, culminating in the announcement of the two overall winners for Best First Book and Best Book.
The overall Best Book winner will receive £10,000 and the overall Best First Book winner will receive £5,000.